This last Saturday, we were all at the landmark 20th Anniversary Sandown Park Toy Fair! Maybe you saw us there?! I was the one taking pictures with my iPhone because the camera conked out as soon as we arrived!
When a show is billed as "The Number One Collectors' Fair in Europe", it needs to be something special to live up to its publicity. Luckily, the Sandown Park fair, organised by Barry Potter Fairs, always lives up to its name. Held every year at Sandown Park Race Course in picturesque Surrey, it attracts visitors from all over the UK - and further afield in Europe - all in search of more of those elusive items for their collections. And this fair is one place where they stand an excellent chance of finding them, since there are over 500 dealers, selling everything from diecast cars to trains, tinplate models, soldiers and figures, games, sci-fi and TV tie-in toys and much, much more. And among them are specialists in everything from 1930s tinplate to obscure Japanese diecast of the seventies and eighties. Marking this year's 20th anniversary, organiser Barry Potter launched his new book, The Toy Job at the fair. A must for any collector, this book covers Barry's entire toy-collecting life, from the earliest UK swapmeets, through to the creation of Barry Potter Fairs and on to the toy collecting world of today. Lucky fair attendees had the chance to obtain signed copies direct from Barry himself.
Look! It's us!
Of course, we were there to tell everyone about how great Toy Collector is (as you already know!) and to spread the word about ToyPedia. I'm happy to say that for us the fair was a huge success. We also held a draw, in which three lucky people won £50 each to spend at the fair, and I very much approved of their purchases, which included a beautiful Dinky 30D Vauxhall Saloon and a stunning Dinky Guy Van in Ever-Ready Batteries livery.
One of our lucky winners with his Guy!
The 30D Vauxhall - another winning choice!
We also took the opportunity to talk to many of the dealers there about how business was going in these uncertain economic times, and were happy to find that most of those we talked to said they had not seen their takings diminish by very much, with many noting that the top end of the market for everything from Dinky Toys to Tinplate models to toy soldiers had held up best of all, with mint boxed toys retaining their value best of all.
Many thanks to Barry Potter Fairs for their fabulous organisation (as ever) and a great event - a fantastic time was had by all.
Martin Hills' Gremlin also had a great time.
Here's to the next 20 years and we can't wait for 2011!